Nature Reviews Immunology has launched a special Series on Neuroimmunology. We hope the articles in this Series serve as guiding lights on what promises to be an exciting scientific journey.
Welcome to the Nature Reviews Immunology special Series on Neuroimmunology. The field of neuroimmunology has blossomed in recent years. This can be attributed to sophisticated technological advances as well as to the burgeoning collaboration of neuroscientists and immunologists. Articles in this Series reflect the fruits of these collaborative efforts and review our current understanding of the intricate crosstalk that takes place between the immune and nervous systems and the relevance of this to host physiology and disease.
With this Series, we aim to support the growth of the neuroimmunology community by providing an online hub of Review articles written by leaders in the field.
In this Review, Rolls and colleagues discuss regulation of immune responses by the nervous system. The authors focus on the benefits of neuronal regulation of immunity, the mechanisms involved and the brain areas involved in neuro-immune crosstalk.
Immune cells and neural cells interact in numerous tissues and organs and can have local and far-reaching physiological effects. Understanding these intimate bidirectional interactions is providing insight into the gut–brain axis, as well as the maternal gut–fetal brain axis.
This Review considers the link between pain and the immune system. Nociceptors are directly activated by immune mediators and microbial products and, in turn, release neuropeptides that shape immune responses. These neuroimmune pathways can contribute to protective immunity from infections but also lead to chronic pain.
The aryl hydrocarbon receptor: an environmental sensor integrating immune responses in health and disease
By sensing environmental, dietary, microbial and metabolic cues, the ligand-activated transcription factor aryl hydrocarbon receptor controls complex transcriptional programmes that are relevant to autoimmune, neoplastic, metabolic and degenerative diseases.
In this Review, Shi and Holtzman highlight our growing understanding of the innate immune mechanisms that contribute to Alzheimer disease with a specific focus on microglial cells, apolipoprotein E (APOE) and triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2).
This Review describes recent advances in our understanding of the ontogeny, development and function of brain-resident macrophages and microglia, including their normal functions during brain development and homeostasis and how disturbance of these functions may precipitate neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases.
This Review focuses on the protective and pathological roles of different T cell subsets in the central nervous system (CNS). The authors explain how effector, memory and regulatory T cell populations are primed and recruited to the CNS, and discuss the plasticity of these populations, particularly in the context of viral infection and autoimmunity.
This Review discusses the contribution of different cytokine networks to inflammation in the central nervous system (CNS). In neuroinflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis, CNS-invading leukocytes produce many of the cytokines that are associated with disease. By contrast, in Alzheimer disease and other neurodegenerative diseases, tissue-resident cells are the main source of pathological cytokines.
In this Review, the authors relate the growing appreciation of the neuroimmune circuits that link inflammatory and immune responses with depressive behaviours. They explore the evolutionary basis of this neuroimmune link and discuss how a better understanding of these pathways may lead to new therapies that treat depression by targeting the immune system.
This Review provides an insightful discussion on the current concepts in multiple sclerosis research, including genetic predisposition and environmental triggers, and explores the evolving link between inflammation and neurodegeneration. The authors highlight the clinical challenges and key questions that remain to be addressed.